Fire breaks out at senior care home
Jul 30, 2012 / 11:50 am
Five people were treated for smoke inhalation after fire broke out at the Highlands Retirement Residence on Snowsell Drive shortly before 10 a.m. Monday morning.
Two of those people were take by ambulance to Kelowna General Hospital.
Deputy Fire Chief, Thomas Doherty, says the back of the single story structure was fully involved with heavy smoke when crews arrived.
"All residents have been accounted for and have been evacuated," says Doherty.
"We have 36 firefighters on scene and the fire has been knocked down. We're just going in now to do the overhaul and salvage."
Doherty says 18 units were affected by fire and smoke.
In all, 65 residents and four staff members were transported to North Glenmore Elementary School.
They are in the care of Emergency Support Services.
Those displaced because of the fire will be provided with alternate accommodations.
Several fire fighters were also being checked over by BC Ambulance personnel.
"It's a hot day and guys are working hard back there so we are set up with rehab where they have to replenish and they are assessed by BC Ambulance before they are given the okay to go back in," says Doherty.
Howard Pfefferle was the first person on the scene of the fire.
Pfefferle says he was at the Petro Canada on Glenmore Drive when he noticed the thick grey smoke and headed to the scene.
He was joined soon after by the owner of the Glenmore IGA.
Pfefferle says the two went inside and, at one point, attempted to rescue an elderly gentleman who wouldn't leave without his cats.
"There were already flames coming through his ceiling so, we were trying to get him out. You couldn't see anything because of the smoke," says Pfefferle.
"We dragged him out fighting - he fought us the whole way. We had only found one of his cats so we got him out and I went back in and found his second cat. The cat bit his finger but it was worth it."
Pfefferle says they went back in and began kicking doors in and banging on doors to make sure all the apartments were empty.
One fire official said a fire wall prevented the fire from spreading into other units in the back of the complex.
While it appears the fire may have started in one of the units, Doherty says the exact cause has yet to be determined.
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